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THE POITIER EFFECT: RACIAL MELODRAMA AND FANTASIES OF RECONCILIATION. Sharon Willis. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2015. 272 pp. 21 x 13 cm. ISBN 9780816692842 In English.
This title is offered as a special-order item. Paperbound edition also available; see Worldwide 166443. Publisher's description: The civil rights struggle was convulsing the nation, its violence broadcast into every living room. Against this fraught background, Sidney Poitier emerged as an image of dignity, discipline, and moral authority. Here was the picture-perfect black man, helping German nuns build a chapel in The Lilies of the Field and overcoming the prejudices of recalcitrant students in To Sir with Love, a redneck sheriff in In the Heat of the Night, and a prospective father-in-law in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. In his characters' restrained responses to white people's ignorance and bad behavior, Poitier represented racial reconciliation and reciprocal respect--the "Poitier effect" that Sharon Willis traces through cinema and television from the civil rights era to our own. The Poitier effect, in Willis's account, is a function of white wishful thinking about race relations. It represents a dream of achieving racial reconciliation and equality without any substantive change to the white world. This notion of change without change conforms smoothly with a fantasy of colorblindness, a culture in which difference makes no difference.
Indexing: Video/Film/Performance
Plans: 71
Worldwide Number: 166442
Hardcover $79.00 nota bene: See Comment Above.

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